FOUL WEATHER PLAY
When does the jurisdiction of the referee end?
A U13 game held in the snow/freezing rain. Coach believes game should not be played due to the age of the players/weather/field conditions. First half gets completed when the referee decides to call the game. Final whistle has blown, players are leaving/have left the field. The coach decides to let the referee know that he felt it was inappropriate to even start the game. Referee red cards the coach for his dissent. Is this allowed?
Answer (October 20, 2009):
Only the referee may decide whether a field is playable and whether the game should go on -- see Law 5 (The Referee). The coach has no say in the matter. In addition, only the referee knows when the game is over -- see Law 7 (Duration of the Game). However, any coach has the option of deciding that, in HIS opinion, the game should not be played and withholding his players from any start or restart. As a result, the referee would have no option but to abandon the match due to one or both teams having an insufficient number of players on the field. The coach, of course, runs the risk of the competition authority deciding that he was wrong and awarding a forfeit to the opposing team.
Coaches are never punished for dissent. If coaches perform what would be considered as dissent in a player, they are expelled for behaving irresponsibly. That is, unless the rules of the competition provide for showing the card to a team official.
SILLY OFFSIDE TACTIC
In a game recent the opponents other than the goal keeper crossed onto our side of the field. One of our players than moved forward to thier side of the field from our side. Since our player could not be offsides while on our side, and the defenders are not on thier side, is our player than offside because the defense has vacated thier side of the field? If he is offside, then that means that a defense merely needs to move all the way into the opponent area, play thier fastest players and everyone who goes pass them must then be offside?
Answer (October 20, 2009):
Of course your red player was in an offside position, but not necessarily offside. For your player to be considered offside, he or she would have to have become involved in play. In any case, the red attacker is absolutely prevented from becoming involved in active play, but every other red player is free to make any play possible for the ball, and any particularly fast red player would have a field day.
Believe us, if the strategy you propose actually worked, teams would use it all the time. Do you ever see it used? No, because it does not work. And there is no such thing as "offsides." Believe us, if the strategy you propose actually worked, teams would use it all the time. Do you ever see it used? No, because it does not work. And there is no such thing as "offsides."
Understanding that "you would have to be there," as referee I was somewhat surprised on a particular DOGSO. U-19 girls, D-4.
The attacker was on a breakaway with the defender stride for stride next to her... the Center Ref was following the play by about 10 yards with no one between the Ref and the play. There were no other defenders in the play or between the play and the goal.
As the two continued stride for stride, with the defender making some moves to retreive the ball, about 5 yards outside of the penalty arc, both girls fell to the ground and the ball rolled forward into the penalty area where the goalie was standing.
The Ref whistled a foul, set the ball for the direct kick but as the girls began to set their wall, AR-1 called the CR to the line. The CR returned to the field, called over the defender and ejected her for the obvious goal scoring opportunity.
My issue was two-fold. One, the distance seemed too far particulary given that both girls were side by side, stride for stride and working toward the ball. At 20+ yards to the goal, if for a U-19 it seems far to deserve an injection. Second, it would seem that the Center Ref was in the best position to make the call and had already set the ball for the direct kick prior to the AR calling him to the side.
Was the ejection appropriate, given the facts above? As a ref, I saw two girls going for the ball and agreed with the direct kick assuming that there was contact between the defender and the attacker - versus the ball.
Answer (October 20, 2009):
Unless there is something you have not revealed to us, we see no reason for any call here, much less a sending-off for denying the opponent a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity. Soccer is a contact sport. Unless the contact is illegal, there is no infringement of the Law.
Furthermore, aside from the issue of whether there was even a foul, we have no idea what the AR said to the referee and could only speculate as to how this added information may have affected the referee's decisions. Finally, you have provided no information as to any of the other "D" elements in OGSO (distance to ball, direction of play) but it is clear that the "number of defenders" element was present and the "distance to the goal" element is the one you are arguing about. "Distance to goal" is a judgment of the referee and we cannot second guess the decision (short of the play perhaps being near the opposing team's goal line!).
FOUL AGAINST THE GOALKEEPER?
In the Manchester United v. Sunderland game on Oct. 3 2009 a Sunderland striker made contact with United keeper Ben Foster in the process of striking a header into goal. Many arguments have ensued as to the legality of the contact; although it did appear IMHO that the striker did touch the ball first. Are the rules for physical contact different when the keeper is concerned? If the contact had been made in the same manner with a defensive player (not the keeper) would the call have been different?
Answer (October 20, 2009):
With the exception of certain circumstances -- such as no interference when the 'keeper is releasing the ball back into play -- the goalkeeper should be treated precisely the same as any other player. All such cases are decided in the opinion of the referee who is on the game, based on the conditions of the game and what he or she sees happening on the field.
BEACH BALL BOUNCES
In Saturday's Sunderland-Liverpool game a spectator hurled a large, weighty red ball onto the field during play (I suspect that you are getting a lot of questions about this incident). You've recently said that a number of balloons in front of a goal did not necessarily constitute an outside agent to cause a defender to kick a balloon and not the ball going into the net. In the Saturday game the big, red, heavy ball deflected the soccer ball away from the goalkeeper and into the goal, which was accepted as a goal by the referee.
I understand that an annoying bee, a camera's flash, an explosive sound, a swirl of snow, some balloons, long paper streamers and the like must be accepted as part of the game but in these cases it affects many of the players on both teams. A big red ball with enough mass to deflect a shot on goal from close range seems to be an outside agent affecting just the striker and goalie, so the question is this: How is an outside agent defined that would make it different from a dog running on the field and deflecting the ball into the net?
Answer (October 19, 2009):
Your reference to the balloons was dated November 2008, almost a year ago. A big red beach ball rolling directly in front of the goalkeeper is considerably different from some small balloons. The moment the beach ball interfered with and changed the path of the game ball was the moment the beach ball became an outside agent, directly affecting play and the referee decision must be outside interference.
Clearly the referee erred in not stopping play for the interference by the big red beach ball. The correct restart should have been a dropped ball at the place where the two balls collided. If that was within the goal area, then the referee must drop the ball on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was when play was stopped.
SHOULD ARs "SNAP" THE FLAG?
As a grade 8 referee, I referee both youth and adult matches. I have worked with referees who are doing their first game up to the 30+ year veteran. There always seems to be some discussion and disagreement about whether an AR's flag should be "snapped" up or raised quietly. I could not find anything specifically in the Laws, Guide to Procedures, or Advice to Referees (maybe I missed it), but I believe that the flag should be raised quietly. The reason for this is that that if the AR snaps the flag up, now everyone turns their attention to the AR. We referees are supposed to be involved in a game as little as possible, but, to me, this clearly does not meet this guideline. Another way I think of it is that the AR's flag is for the referee and not the players, coaches, spectators, substitutes, etc. The referee should be glancing over to the AR every time there is potential for offside. What are your thoughts?
Answer (October 160, 2009):
Although "snapping" the flag was once fashionable, there is no longer any reason to do so. You have outlined quite succinctly the principal reasons for not snapping the flag.
PURPOSE OF THE GOAL AREA
Why is the "goal box" markings required, when all the rules that I'm aware of apply only to the "penalty area"? What special rules apply only to the "goal box"?
Answer (October 16, 2009):
There is no "goal box," but there is a goal area within the penalty area. The goal area has changed shape, size, and role several times during its history. Nowadays its primary roles are to provide a place for the goal kick to be taken and to act as a buffer zone for dropped balls and for opposing indirect free kicks within six yards of the goal.
If play is stopped inside the goal area for some reason other than a foul or misconduct, the referee drops the ball on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was located when play was stopped (Law 8).
A free kick awarded to the defending team within the goal area may be taken from any point inside that area (Law 13)
An indirect free kick awarded to the attacking team inside the goal area must be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred (Law 13).
A goal kick is kicked from any point within the goal area by a player of the defending team.
FOUL OR NOT?
My question is in regards to the keeper, when he punches the ball. During a high level game, the keeper came off his line on a corner kick to play the ball. He jumped to punch the ball out of danger, but instead of punching the ball, he hit the attaching player in the face. I was the AR2 while this happened in front of AR1 and the CR. The CR felt the play was not deliberate and said play on.
The coach of the attaching team felt there should have been a red card for striking and a PK.
Based upon the skill level, feel of the game, etcŠ. has this play been called striking by the keeper?
Answer (October 16, 2009):
We recommend for your reading pleasure this excerpt from the USSF publication "Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game" 2009/2010, downloadable from the USSF website:
12.1 WHAT IS A FOUL?
A foul is an unfair or unsafe action committed (1) by a player (2) against an opponent or the opposing team, (3) on the field of play, (4) while the ball is in play. Deliberate handling of the ball is committed against the opposing team, not against a particular opponent. If any of these requirements is not met, the action is not a foul; however, the action can still be misconduct.
Except for a handling offense, it is not necessary for the player's action to be considered "deliberate" in the sense that the player intentionally set out to kick, push, trip, hold or otherwise foul the opponent. If that were so, the referee would have to be capable of reading a player's mind. Under Law 12, the referee makes a decision based upon what he or she sees a player actually do - the result of the player's action - not upon what might be in the player's mind.
BALL KICKED TO THE GOALKEEPER
I believe it's a little bit silly how many questions there are about the "pass back" violation, given how rarely these situations actually occur. That said, a potential "pass back" situation arose during a recent assessment, and I hope you don't mind offering a little clarification.
An attacking player kicked a ball forward toward the penalty area. A defending player, under pressure from another attacker, controlled the ball with his upper leg/thigh toward his goalkeeper, and the goalkeeper caught the ball with his hands.
Given the skill of the players, I felt the defender's action was deliberate, and he knew he was pushing the ball out of reach of the attacker and to a place where his keeper could easily collect the ball. However, the ball never touched the defender's foot, which I considered a requirement (part of the "iron triangle" described in the 21 May 2008 Memorandum).
After the game, the assessor said that I was not interpreting the term "foot" correctly. He stated, "Any part of the leg is considered, not just the foot." He did not believe I should have called a "pass back," however, because he felt the defender's action was not deliberate: he considered the action more of a mis-directed attempt to clear the ball over the goal line.
Can you offer clarification and guidance? What parts of a defender's body are included for the purposes of the "pass back" violation?
Answer (October 15, 2009):
Sigh! You are correct, there have been and continue to be too many questions about possible "pass back" infringements.
The Law is clear: "An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, . . . touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a teammate." Kicking requires the use of the foot. The foot does not include the knee, thigh, or shin.
We cannot read the minds of the players; we can only interpret what we see. In this case no foot equals no infringement.
PREMATURE PENALTY KICK
The following scenario was told to me by a fellow referee at his game this past week. The play unfolds as follows:
The referee calls a foul in the penalty area and indicates a PK to be taken. Players line-up outside the PA and the kick is to follow.
The ball is placed at the PK spot, while the referee is walking back to check with the keeper (to see if he is ready), the player taking the PK kicks the ball without the referee indicating so... The keeper makes the save.
The referee decides that the kick was an infringement, and awards the defensive team an indirect kick coming out at the spot of the infringement (PK spot).
My concern is as follows:
Did the ref make the right decision? Should he have had the kick retaken since he did not signal with a whistle. Does he have to blow the whistle for the kick to be taken or not? Should the PK have been retaken, and the ref just admonish the player on proper procedure?
How would you handle such an event and what is the appropriate action to be taken?
Answer (October 13, 2009):
Because the referee had not given the required whistle for the kick to be taken, it must be retaken in accordance with the Law, regardless of the outcome of the original kick.
PUTTING THE BALL INTO PLAY
I had a question a fellow referee asked me and we both would like some clarification. Please help.
The situation: On a corner kick the attacking player tap the top of the ball and called to her teammate to come and take the kick, her teammate starting dribbling the ball towards to goal.
The referee decided that the ball was not properly put into play with the 1st attacker's tap; he blew his whistle and had them retake the corner kick.
What is the correct course of action?
Answer (October 13, 2009):
This excerpt from the USSF publication Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game (2009) should clarify the matter for you. While it speaks of free kicks, it also applies to corner kicks. The Advice is available for download on the USSF website.
13.5 BALL IN PLAY
The ball is in play (able to be played by an attacker other than the kicker or by an opponent) when it has been kicked and moved. The distance to be moved is minimal and the "kick" need only be a touch of the ball with the foot in a kicking motion or being dragged with the top or bottom of the foot. Simply tapping the top of the ball with the foot or stepping on the ball are not sufficient.
When the restart of play is based on the ball being kicked and moved, the referee must ensure that the ball is indeed kicked (touched with the foot in a kicking or dragging motion) and moved (caused to go from one place to another). The referee must make the final decision on what is and is not "kicked and moved" based on the spirit and flow of the match.
The referee must judge carefully whether any particular kick of the ball and subsequent movement was indeed reasonably taken with the intention of putting the ball into play rather than with the intention merely to position the ball for the restart. If the ball is just being repositioned (even if the foot is used to do this), play has not been restarted. Likewise, referees should not unfairly punish for "failing to respect the required distance" when an opponent was clearly confused by a touch and movement of the ball which was not a restart.
The referee must make the final decision on what is a "kick" and what is "not a kick" based on his or her feeling for the game-what FIFA calls "Fingerspitzengefühl" (literally: "sensing with one's fingertips").
Situation: There is an injury on the field, and the ball is kicked out of bounds, which stops the game.
The injured player's coach comes on to the field, the other players all take a knee, some go toward the bench area for a drink and coaching instruction.
Play resumes with the team that had the injured player taking a quick throw in while the other team is out of position, resulting in an easy goal.
No whistle is ever blown to stop or re-start the play.
Is it legal to start the play after the injured player is attended to on the field without a whistle from the head referee?
The head referee stated to the coaches that since the play was stopped on a ball played out of bounds, he does not need to blow the whistle to re-start the play.
According to page 76 of the FIFA "Laws of The Game" a whistle is needed to restart play after an injury, but a whistle is NOT needed to restart play from a throw-in.
Which applies in this instance?
Answer (October 8, 2009):
The International Board has commented that the practice of teams kicking the ball out of play because they believe a player has been injured is a challenge to the referee's authority under Law 5 to make the sole determination as to whether or not an injury during play is "serious" and warrants play being stopped. USSF's guidance in 2008, however, is that a team which does this has not broken any Law and thus cannot be punished for it. It is the job of the referee to be seen quickly evaluating injuries and clearly establishing whether play should be stopped or not.
Here, a team played the ball out, which of course stopped play. We presume (even though it is not specifically stated) that the coach entered the field with the permission of the referee to tend to his player. USSF has also stated clearly that any player tended to on the field by a team official is required to leave the field regardless of whether play was stopped for this injury or not. The simple act of calling a team official onto the field for this purpose is enough to trigger the requirement that the player leave the field, not to return (if not substituted for) until play has resumed and the referee's permission to re-enter has been given.
Because of this, the stoppage for the throw-in automatically became a ceremonial restart which requires a whistle signal to restart play. If the referee follows proper mechanics, the teams should be clearly advised by word and gesture that no restart can occur except by the signal of a whistle. If the restart does occur anyway, it must be called back and retaken properly. Even if the referee fails to follow proper procedures by notifying the teams, the whistle is still required.
U.S. Soccer thanks Jim Allen (National Instructor Staff/National Assessor), assisted by Dan Heldman (National Instructor Staff), for their assistance in providing this service. Direction is provided by Alfred Kleinaitis, Manager of Referee Development and Education, with further assistance from Paul Tamberino, Director of Referee Development; David McKee, National Director of Assessment (assessment matters); and Ulrich Strom, National Instructor and National Assessor (matters in general).
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